Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dose of reality

Georgetown and George Washington, perennial afterthoughts in college basketball, are now enjoying a small amount of attention with Maryland being down again this season. It is clear from watching Comcast or reading the local papers which program of the three "pays the bills" as it were, and it isn't the two inside the District line. The Colonials play in a gym that holds less than five thousand people and looks like a concrete mausoleum. Georgetown plays in the MCI Center, mostly as a nod to their past glories, and can barely fill a third of the 20,000 seat arena. Schools like Bradley, UTEP, Fresno State, Creighton, Wichita State, Utah State, and even the cadavers at Penn State drew better average crowds than the Hoyas last season. None of those facts were mentioned in the articles written by Luke Winn on Sports Illustrated entitled Scenes from the District part I and II which didn't even mention that the only school in DC to win a national title in basketball recently is Catholic.

George Washington got some further bad press in the New York Times related to an expose about fraudulent diploma mills that have sprung up to get kids eligible to play college sports. The Times reported:

Few basketball programs have benefited from recruiting players from Schofield and Lutheran more than George Washington. The Colonials are 24-1 this year and ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll. Two of the team's best players, Maureece Rice and Omar Williams, played at schools run by Schofield. The George Washington president, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, had a strong reaction to The Times article.

Trachtenberg was "embarrassed" by the article, but his coach Karl Hobbs didn't seem all that phased by the obvious questions about the propriety of taking students from these kinds of fictitious prep schools. Hobbs fell back on the standard excuse that he felt obligated to give an opportunity to kids who have a "burning desire" to graduate and succeed. Apparently Hobbs assumes we're all as stupid as the president of GW or he has no shame, or perhaps it is a little of both. As for Trachtenberg he commented in a fit of ludicrous naivete that as to the players who had gone to unaccredited prep schools he, "wished they'd all gone to Andover and Horace Mann and finished first in their class." It is hard to imagine how Trachtenberg could be such a fool to not have a clue as to how Hobbs, an ex-minion of one the most crooked coaches in college basketball, was running his program.

Georgetown wasn't any bastion of higher learning when the previous Thompson was there in spite of a graduation rate that looked good on paper. Pappy Thompson got his lone national title with kids like Michael Graham who wasn't expected to qualify to play at Georgetown and then struggled to stay eligible in his one year on the team. He transferred to UDC and promptly flunked off the team. Allen Iverson wasn't interested in the foreign policy school at Georgetown either. Since 1995 the Georgetown program has had at least three players fail to qualify out of high school and still recruits players like Jeff Green and Vernon Macklin who could not get admitted at any other school that were recruiting them.

Recruiting News

Maryland has offered junior forward Darnell Dodson from Eleanor Roosevelt high according to his coach. The 6-5 Dodson is a wing player who has a decent outside stroke and scores abut 16 points per game. His free throw shooting is an abysmal 59%, however. I doubt that Dodson is a priority at this point and may be a backup plan if Corey Raji decides to go elsewhere.

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